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Isaac Marion Book Review: Warm Bodies Prequel, The New Hunger

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Author Isaac Marion is off to a great start in 2013. The film adaptation of his debut novel Warm Bodies is currently number one in the U.S., getting great reviews and after months of waiting, fans can now sink their teeth into its highly anticipated prequel, The New Hunger. Strategically timed for the film's U.S. release, Zola Books recently published the prequel as an e-book for all you fans with "hungry mouths" who don't want to wait for the hard copy version.

When I caught up with Marion for the February issue of Stiff Magazine, he described the new story to fans: "It takes place seven years prior and involves a formative early encounter between a 12-year-old Julie, a 16-year-old Nora, and a newly undead man in a red tie."

Marion released this teaser on his blog in January: "Book 2 is about the future, but it gets there via the past. People are forgetful, dead people even more so, and confronting these buried realities will be crucial to understanding the world they're now living in--and how they might attempt to change it."

The New Hunger is a great bridge between the first and second stories but still stands alone as its own novella. It provides insight into the character of Nora in a way that you wished Warm Bodies had but you knew that with all the other stuff going on, it just wasn't possible.

This may seem like a funny thing to complain about, but I kind of wish the story were longer. Part of what makes Warm Bodies so incredible are the moments when Marion breaks script a bit. Through the voice of "R," Marion fills his first novel with inner monologues of prose-filled beauty spliced throughout a romantic horror-adventure (horrenture?).

With the shortened format of The New Hunger, Marion is given less time to wax poetic in the name of propelling the characters forward to their inevitable convergence. It is like a teasing taste of what he is capable of as a storyteller. I loved devouring all the additional insights into the characters and it made me even more excited for his pending sequel, which may be the reaction the author was hoping for.